William Nelson Pendleton

Reference: Find-a-Grave

William Nelson Pendleton was born in Richmond, Virginia, December 26, 1809. He was instructed by tutors and went to a private school in Richmond. He later attended West Point and was graduated fifth in the class of 1830. Resigning three years later to engage in teaching, he determined to enter the Episcopal ministry, and was ordained in 1838. In 1847 he ceased teaching to devote all his time to ecclesiastical pursuits. In 1853 he became rector of Grace Church, Lexington, Virginia, a post he occupied until his death. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War the Reverend Pendleton unhesitatingly offered his services to Virginia. He was elected captain of the Rockbridge Artillery, and was rapidly promoted to colonel and chief of artillery on the staff of General Joseph E. Johnston. He became brigadier general on March 26, 1862. He served uninterruptedly with the Army of Northern Virginia from First Manassas to Appomattox, and was for a large part of the war the nominal chief of artillery of the army. However, during the last two years his duties were largely administrative and confined to active command of the reserve ordnance. He never lost sight of his calling, and frequently preached to the soldiers. Returning to Lexington after the war, General Pendleton resumed his rectorship and carried on a noble struggle against poverty in his desolated parish, and against the hostility of the Federal authorities. He was an intimate of General Robert E. Lee, who was a member of his vestry, and was the father-in-law of General Edwin G. Lee. He died at Lexington on January 15, 1883, and is buried there.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.

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